What’s My Pole? On Institutional Racism in Our Fundraising Practice

What does it mean to question “best practices” and dismantle institutional racism in our organizations and our fundraising?  Shawn Mack, Development Officer and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator at Valley Youth House, and I will address three fundraising “best practices” during an online conversation sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) on Wednesday, December 2nd.

As a provider and promoter of Standards for Excellence, PANO is taking the lead asking the difficult questions about the impact of institutional racism, identifying places where our “best practices” may have hidden biases in them, and collectively leveraging each other’s eyes and ears to authentically discuss and address our challenges.

We will look at three areas of fundraising “best practice” – the Donor Pyramid and the Donor-Centered Fundraising practices it represents, Gift Acceptance, and Fundraising Costs – encouraging open and genuine discussion of how to answer the question “What is Our Pole?”

As leaders and supporters of Standards for Excellence, we don’t have all of the answers. We want to explore together how we can give all people the opportunity to engage and benefit from all that our nonprofit institutions have to offer. We are committed to doing the work that it takes to open the racial justice discussion, identify the places where we have fallen and determine the next steps.

You can find more information on this program and on other racial justice resources for nonprofit organizations at pano.org.